Breader Spawned on a Catfish Farm
Yes, Plantation Breader was given birth on a catfish farm to promote farm-raised catfish in the early ‘90’s. We started out growing the fish to sell live but found the need to get into the processing business, which required marketing. That’s when the Breader was developed.
In the latter part of the 20th century, farm-raised catfish was not as widely accepted in Eastern North Carolina as in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. The best way to sell a new food is to get into the consumer’s mouth. We fried bite-size pieces of our fish in area grocery stores. The shoppers liked the catfish but the off-the-shelf coatings we used generated mixed comments. It was either too much of this or not enough of that. We decided to make our own. The fish and the breader were big hits and we quickly found ourselves in the flour business.
It was a natural fit. While delivering fresh farm-raised catfish to restaurants and grocery stores, we sold them our Plantation Breader, too. Soon we were doing store demos to promote our Breader.
It was a busy time, especially in the summer. Our daughter, Kathryn, was my “first class help” on the delivery route when she was out of school. When she grew tall enough to wade, chest deep, through the brood ponds, she helped her father scrape egg masses from spawning buckets to transfer to the hatchery. She was also the hatchery manager. (Now don’t feel too sorry for her. She accompanied us to some pretty big cities where she was a natural at the trade shows . . . when she wasn’t in school.)
Next came the trade shows: New York, Baltimore, Orlando, New Orleans, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Chicago, San Francisco, plus many regional events. And along the way we picked up a few awards.
At the International Fancy Food and Confectionery Show in New York in 1997 Plantation Breader was awarded a silver trophy. (It resembles an “Oscar” statue holding a tray. We call him Fred.)
Plantation Breader was awarded “Best Aisle By Aisle Contest Winner” by The Gourmet Retailer Magazine in Chicago in 1999 and again in New York 2001.
In 2000 USA Today, The Magazine of the American Scene named Plantation Breader a winner in “Foods for the New Millennium”.
We closed the catfish farm in 2005 to concentrate on the flour business. More products for the foodservice trade were added, such as, Sweet Onion Hush Puppy Mix and Buttermilk Biscuit Mix.
It’s a curious thing how we started a business going in one direction then end up somewhere else. Life’s a trip.